A prosecutor in Texas will serve just ten days in prison and perform 500 hours of community service – after he was found guilty of knowingly withholding evidence in a murder trial that saw an innocent man serve 25 years in prison.
Michael Morton was found guilty of the murder of his wife Christine in 1986. However Morton was totally innocent, and was exonerated by DNA evidence last year. In that time the real killer of Christine, Mark Alan Norwood, went on to kill a second woman. He was convicted of Christine’s murder last year, and is now on trial for the murder of the second woman.
Now it can be revealed that Ken Anderson, the Williamson County District Attorney at the time of Christine’s murder, refused to inform the lead police investigator that he knew that Morton’s 3-year old son was a witness to the murder, and had told his grandmother that his father was not responsible. Anderon also knew that an unknown individual had been seen by a neighbour staking out the Morton home, and that someone had been caught trying to use Christine’s credit card in San Antonio after she was killed. All of these facts would have exonerated Michael Morton, but instead Williamson withheld them.
According to the Associated Press:
“Since being freed from prison, Morton has become a visible embodiment of problems in the legal system in Texas, which leads the nation in prisoners set free by DNA testing — 117 in the last 25 years. Earlier this year, the former Republican chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court urged lawmakers to act on the issue.”